From the effect produced at Rome by Alexander's death, one may imagine what
happened not only in the whole of Italy but also in the rest of the world: for a
moment Europe swayed, for the column which supported the vault of the political
edifice had given way, and the star with eyes of flame and rays of blood, round
which all things had revolved for the last eleven years, was now extinguished,
and for a moment the world, on a sudden struck motionless, remained in silence
After the first moment of stupefaction, all who had an injury to avenge arose and
hurried to the chase. Sforza retook Pesaro, Bagloine Perugia, Guido and Ubaldo
Urbino, and La Rovere Sinigaglia; the Vitelli entered Citta di Castello, the Appiani
Piombino, the Orsini Monte Giordano and their other territories; Romagna alone
remained impassive and loyal, for the people, who have no concern with the
quarrels of the great, provided they do not affect themselves, had never been so
happy as under the government of Caesar.
The Colonnas were pledged to maintain a neutrality, and had been consequently
restored to the possession of their castles and the cities of Chiuzano, Capo
d'Anno, Frascati, Rocca di Papa, and Nettuno, which they found in a better
condition than when they had left them, as the pope had had them embellished
Caesar was still in the Vatican with his troops, who, loyal to him in his misfortune,
kept watch about the palace, where he was writhing on his bed of pain and
roaring like a wounded lion. The cardinals, who had in their first terror fled, each
his own way, instead of attending the pope's obsequies, began to assemble once
more, some at the Minerva, others around Cardinal Caraffa. Frightened by the
troops that Caesar still had, especially since the command was entrusted to
Michelotto, they collected all the money they could to levy an army of 2000
soldiers with Charles Taneo at their head, with the title of Captain of the Sacred
College. It was then hoped that peace was re-established, when it was heard that
Prospero Colonna was coming with 3000 men from the side of Naples, and Fabio
Orsino from the side of Viterbo with 200 horse and more than 1000 infantry.
Indeed, they entered Rome at only one day's interval one from another, by so
similar an ardour were they inspired.
Thus there were five armies in Rome: Caesar's army, holding the Vatican and the
Borgo; the army of the Bishop of Nicastro, who had received from Alexander the
guardianship of the Castle Sant' Angelo and had shut himself up there, refusing
to yield; the army of the Sacred College, which was stationed round about the
Minerva; the army of Prospero Colonna, which was encamped at the Capitol; and
the army of Fabio Orsino, in barracks at the Ripetta.
On their side, the Spaniards had advanced to Terracino, and the French to Nepi.
The cardinals saw that Rome now stood upon a mine which the least spark might
cause to explode: they summoned the ambassadors of the Emperor of Germany,
the Kings of France and Spain, and the republic of Venice to raise their voice in
the name of their masters. The ambassadors, impressed with the urgency of the